Doyle: Virginia "Starting To Figure It Out"

Tony Bennett has his team playing great defense when it matters most, says Doyle.

Taz and the Moose
March 29, 2019 - 12:23 pm
Tony Bennett

USA TODAY images


The South Regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament took center stage last night when both of its semifinal games in Louisville came down to the wire.

No 2. seed Tennessee came from 18-points down only to lose to No 3. Purdue in overtime, and then Virginia beat No. 12 seed Oregon in a close game.

Virginia seems to be turning a corner after sputtering a bit in its opening game of this year’s tournament.

“The first game they played Gardner-Webb and they were down 14 points,” CBS Sports HQ College Basketball Analyst Tim Doyle told Taz & The Moose. “When they were down 14 in that game, I thought to myself ‘oh no,’ … but they need to experience some adversity and then be successful against it. Last night, they fall behind 45-42, and they ran a great play … I thought their execution was really, really good down the stretch. If you go back a few weeks, they looked awful against Florida State when they lost in the ACC semifinal game … I think they’re starting to figure it out.”

In typical Virginia style, the game against Oregon was a low-scoring affair that ended 53-49 in favor of the Cavaliers.

Tony Bennett has his team playing tremendous defense at the most important time of the year. His players will look to keep that up when they face Purdue in the Elite Eight on Saturday night.

“They’re never going to be sexy as far as scoring a bunch of points, Taz, but they really defend. De’Andre Hunter is a first-round pick … Purdue is going to have its hands full. They’re going to have to really shoot well to beat Virginia.”

Purdue have some talented players too. Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline stole the show against Tennessee by chipping-in 29 points and 27 points respectively.

Despite Virginia’s strength, Doyle is sticking by his pre-tournament prediction that the Boilermakers can get past UVA.

“I have Purdue going to the Final Four and knocking off Virginia, just because I thought Carsen Edwards could put on a Kemba or Steph Curry-like performance because the guy can score in bunches. Last night he had 29 points. He goes to the post game presser and goes ‘I didn’t even play well.'”